Monday, August 2, 2010

Adventures In Insomnia

Or lack, thereof.

Insomnia crept into my nightly rituals a little over a month ago, and has decided to stick around. I'm not sure why I can't sleep, only that I can't sleep, and like about a thousand other things in my life, I feel guilty that I'm not spending my insomniac hours on something purposeful.

I've often read that sleeplessness is a sign of genius, but I'm not willing to go that far - my acumen is limited to certain subjects, only. Rather, I think the sleepless nights are caused by stunted, squashed-down anxieties and general loneliness. Because it's only in those pre-down hours that I seem the most acutely aware of the fact that I am, in fact, quiet alone.

Since my kids have been in Virginia for nearly a week, I'm experiencing for the first time in a decade total freedom...but, I just can't seem to get myself to take advantage of it. Because the daily rituals are so ingrained into my life, I can't break away from them so easily. When I'm up at 3am, the thought of just leaving the house is both appealing and exotic - but I never do it. I'm not sure why. I just don't.

I have been devouring cheap books, and listening to music like a teenager: knees propped up, back against the headboard of my bed. It's a youthful posture I'm sure looks ridiculous on me. And that alone seems like a terrible indulgence. Family members have been encouraging me to paint, again..but I haven't painted in years. I wouldn't even know what to do, as the desire in me had been flaccid for as long as I can remember. Quietly, and with little fanfare, I've pretty much buried my artistic side, which died a bitter, atrophied old woman. I always expected way too much of her. If she can't be the best, I'd rather her not be at all. It's just the way it is.

Of course, that doesn't mean her pulpy, zombified corpse doesn't crop up every once and awhile. The artistic flair materializes in other ways: pillows and throws, black wooden pictures frames lined on the wall in perfect symmetry, a mirror with a copper patina, blown glass vases full of sunflowers. So it seems I like to decorate, something that bored and disgusted my ex-husband with it's bourgeois-y domesticity. He wanted a bohemian, I suppose. Not a Pier 1 Martha Stewart. When I finally got my coveted "pull-out freezer" style refrigerator, he sighed with what I guess was disappointment as I polished that sucker every evening with stainless steel varnish. "You're such an appliance wife" he said.


Thing was, I couldn't really argue. Because I haven't risen above material wants. I like stuff. I like comforts. I guess that makes me a dullard. That's life. And the irony is, when we divorced, he kept the fucking refrigerator.

"Literate and Disgusting"

This is my new favorite description for intelligentsia, uttered by a man who I find both interesting and intimidating. His assertion was kind of stereotypical, i.e smart people are ugly ("disgusting") and beautiful people are stupid. I wanted to ask him what qualifies as disgusting, but didn't for two reasons:
1. It seems petty and juvenile to even ask
2. I'm fairly certain is idea of disgusting is most mens idea of disgusting: Fat.
Fatness is a curse, a bane. It's one of the worst things that can happen to you if you're a woman, because simply being fat will disqualify every single one of your positive, desirable traits. My intuition, which is infallible, tells me that I have more in common with this guy then I did even Scott, who I was married to for a decade. But it's also telling me to not even bother. It's a shame, but I have little choice but to adsorb this particular disappointment and move on.

I've always been a creature who changes only after particularly bloody battles. I have bad habits who not only die hard, but come back to me during my insomniac hours, rattling their chains. Never in my life have I smoked a cigarette, or drank a beer in it's entirety, or have been drunk (not even once!), or have smoked weed or snorted cocaine. If I were to die tomorrow, my organs would be showroom new, ripe for the pickin' for whatever lucky son-of-a-bitch gets my pristine kidneys, or ruddy liver. That's what happens when you live clean. You internal organs are beasts of beauty.

But I have my vices, too.

I have a particular love for food. Good food, bad food, instant food, damn near anything. I can remember savoring things at a young age: the rarely had pop, the semi-sweet chocolate squares my sister would sneak from the kitchen at night, a burger topped with bubbling cheese. Stuff like that. I liked it too much, my passions for it driving me out of my room while the house was asleep, or when I was older, simply purchasing my own ice cream and tucking it behind the meats in the freezer. Because not only did I not want to share, I didn't want anyone else to know I was eating it. Yeah. That's a bad sign. My proverbial fifth of vodka hidden in the toilet basin.

As a literate person, I can admit that I have a lack of self-control that's had a less than stellar side effect. No one made me overeat. It was an outlet I chose of my own volition, but all the while I'm smart enough to know that it's bad. I can change, as I'm in the process now of total reformation, both mentally and physically. But it's really fucking hard. Because sometimes, those dead habits rattle their chains so loudly, I can scarcely think of anything else.


  1. Insomnia can have it's good points and it's bad. While you have the quiet time to read those crappy novels, you also have time to over think and analyze every aspect of everything that has ever entered your head. Why do you think I threw myself into the Twilight world. Escapism baby!

    BTW....I have found that when I quit one vice, another one pops up. I quit smoking recently and now all I think about is food. It's depressing. It makes me want to have a cigarette..........or a snack.

    Good luck on the Sam reinvention. I think you're literate and beautiful. Even though our interactions are limited to the internet, I still consider you a friend.

  2. Thanks, Julie. Hopefully, the reinvention is a success, and not a horrible, mutant failure a la Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly".

    While it's true that our interactions are limited, we've been friends for over a decade, which is a personal milestone for me. Usually, I can only tolerate people for 6 or 7 months, tops. :)

  3. 10 years? Good gravy. Doesn't seem like that long. Thanks for the toleration. I feel the same way about you :)

    BTW, why am I your only follower?

  4. It goes by quickly, eh?

    I'm not sure how to promote myself to attract new followers! I've always been pretty bad at this, though I've had slight success on Tumblr. (if 7 followers can be considered a "success", heh)